Why Mr. Liu won't be picking up his Nobel Peace Prize

Perhaps to erase the memory of awarding last year's Nobel Peace Prize to President Barack Obama (D) who had no peace making experience ( the communities he organized in Chicago remain plagued by violent crime), this year the Norwegian prize selection committee chose Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo - a more worthy recipient. Currently imprisoned in China,

Liu Xiaobo is an impassioned literary critic, political essayist and democracy advocate who has been repeatedly jailed by the Chinese government for his writings. On Oct. 8, 2010, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of "his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China."

Mr. Liu is perhaps China's best known dissident. He was given an 11-year prison sentence on subversion charges on Dec. 25, 2009, after urging Chinese leaders to embrace democratic reforms, a sentence that was widely regarded as unusually harsh.

The sentence was

for his essays and a manifesto he helped draft, Charter 08, that demands political reform, human rights guarantees and an independent judicial system. The government has been waging an offensive to rebrand the prize - which comes with a medal and $1.5 million - as a Western ploy to undermine the Chinese Communist Party's hold on power.

Although Liu Xiaobo is the first person from China awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the Chinese government was not pleased with the honor. Indicating its displeasure, the Chinese government pressured countries not to send a representative to the awards ceremony this Friday, the New York Times reported. Nineteen agreed. Not so coincidentally they are not noted for their commitment to peace.

Those countries are China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Colombia, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Serbia, Iraq, Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Venezuela, the Philippines, Egypt, Sudan, Ukraine, Cuba and Morocco.

The ceremony is scheduled for this Friday. With a previous binding commitment not of his choice, Mr. Liu will be unable to attend. He will also be unable to attend the Chinese newly created alternative Confucius peace prize ceremony scheduled for Thursday. The winner is from Taiwan, an area China has long coveted.